Top Stories

May 18, 2012

What do we think? In our latest blog, Hugh Macpherson discusses Facebook's IPO.

Corporate Reputation

Cairn Energy investors lead day of rebellion over executive pay

Cairn Energy, the oil and gas company which has spearheaded controversial oil drilling in the Arctic, has become the biggest victim of the UK's "shareholder spring", with 67% of investors voting down its pay report yesterday. There were a further 10% of abstentions at Cairn on a day that also saw rebellions at Cookson, the industrial group, and the insurers Prudential and Resolution. Co-op Asset Management, which voted against the pay package, said the lack of a promise by Cairn to withdraw its plans showed why the UK government needed to make shareholder votes legally binding.

The Guardian p28

Social Investments

Big businesses risk losing out to social enterprises unless they adapt

A gathering of sustainability leaders has been warned that big businesses will be swept aside by emerging social enterprises unless they start changing their business models and contribute more to society. Boudewijn Poelmann, who founded the hugely successful Dutch Postcode Lottery, told Virgin Unite's 'Screw Business as Usual' event that many major businesses would be replaced by emerging social enterprises unless they responded to the environmental and social challenges the world is facing. Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, said that the Occupy movement presents an opportunity for "forward-thinking corporations to take a stance on the side of the 99%, which are their customers, and build this incredible customer loyalty based on shared values."

The Guardian

Responsible Investing

Investor coalition pushes shale gas industry to clean up fracking

A coalition of 55 investment firms and institutional investors is urging the shale gas industry to adopt best practices to clean up hydraulic fracturing, a controversial production technique used to release gas trapped in deep underground formations. The group, which has nearly $1 trillion in assets under management, is spearheaded by Boston Common Asset Management, the Investor Environmental Health Network and the Interfaith Centre on Corporate Responsibility. The coalition has published an investor guide, Extracting the Facts, which outlines 12 recommended goals, practices and indicators for the shale gas industry.

Environmental Leader


Big players sign up to low-carbon sourcing initiative

Leading companies including BT, BSkyB, EDF and Lloyds Banking Group have signed up to a UK procurement initiative to drive low carbon sourcing in more than £1bn of spending. The initiative has been spearheaded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and The Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change and has the support of key government Ministries. Projects in three pilot sectors – catering, transport and renewable energy – will demonstrate demand for low-carbon technologies in order to drive innovation and investment from suppliers, and encourage growth and employment.

Supply Management

Cabinet Office (PDF)

Apple plans green power for US data centres

Apple plans to power its main US data centre entirely with renewable energy by the end of this year, taking steps to address longstanding environmental concerns about the rapid expansion of high-consuming computer server farms. The consumer electronics manufacturer said yesterday that it will build two solar array installations covering 250 acres, among the largest in the industry, and also has plans for similar installations at other data centres. "I'm not aware of any other company producing energy onsite at this scale," Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said. Greenpeace, which has targeted Apple as well as Amazon and Microsoft with clean energy campaigns, saluted the decision.